Did somersaults in the pool. They lay on four-poster beds. And on widescreen televisions they watched cricket and news footage of their fellow protesters who had gathered in the Sri Lankan capital and joined them in storming the presidential residence and secretariat.
After months of mounting economic hardship, fuel and food shortages, and increasingly desperate protests, live images from Colombo showed a rare moment of frivolity as demonstrators who had literally taken the executive’s seats seized the moment to appreciate luxury.
At the official residence of President Gotabay Rajapaksa, who fled the day before in an unknown direction, protesters bathed in the clear blue water of an outdoor pool, while others crowded around the edges. Some found a gym where they watched one man doing curls on a bench. Others rested on the grass in the manicured gardens.
Demonstrators crowded the stairs and posed for pictures in the spacious lobbies of the residence, which served as the official home of British governors during the colonial era. Several people prepared curries and snacks for the protesters while others showered in the bathrooms or took pictures at the tables.
Footage published by The Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka’s news outletseemed to show protesters investigating secret passageways to secure areas underneath the building.
Carrying Sri Lankan flags, yelling accusations at Mr. Rajapaksa and his powerful family, they collapsed on beds and sofas to celebrate the news that the President has been asked to step down and to think about what could happen to their country. farther.